Criminal Mischief

How a New Jersey Attorney Can Help with Getting Charged with a Crime on School Property

Criminal or traffic violations come with a set of assigned penalties in the state of New Jersey. Certain crimes or traffic violations have stricter penalties if they are committed on school property. From speeding to being under the influence, these violations can be a lot more dangerous when committed on school property. In order to keep kids safe, New Jersey law provides harsher penalties for violations on school grounds. If you are being charged with a crime or traffic violation on school grounds, often a New Jersey attorney can work with you to create a defense to get charges dropped or downgraded.

Criminal Trespass

According to New Jersey Law 2C:18-3, criminal trespass is divided into different categories:

  • Unlicensed entry of structures – This is when a person knowingly enters a building when they don’t have a license or right to be there. This part of the law includes entering structures like schools, research facilities, public utility facilities, etc.
  • Defiant trespasser – This occurs when the person enters a building despite being given notice against trespass through verbal communication, fencing, or a sign.
  • Peering into windows – This is also known as “peeping” and occurs when someone peers into windows of a place that they know they are not licensed or privileged to view.

Each of these violations includes jail time and a fine. However, the charges can be harsher when the trespassing occurs on school property. For example, trespassing can move from a disorderly person’s offense to a fourth-degree crime if it occurs on school property. The penalty for this would be 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

By working with a New Jersey attorney, there are several defenses that can be used. These can successfully prove why the defendant was trespassing on school property. For example, the defendant could have reasonably believed they were allowed to be there due to circumstances. Another defense is that at the time, the school building was open to the public.

Under the Influence of CDS

CDS stands for controlled dangerous substance. It can include anything from cocaine to heroin to opioids. According to New Jersey Law 2C:25-10, “it is unlawful for any person, knowingly or purposely, to obtain, or to possess, actually or constructively, a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog, unless the substance was obtained directly, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order form from a practitioner.”

Being under the influence of a CDS is a disorderly person’s offense. This can lead to fines up to $1,000, 6 months in jail, probation, driver’s license suspension for at least 6 months. It may also include a permanent criminal charge record.

If the person is under the influence on school property or within 1,000 feet of school property, an additional penalty of at least 100 hours of community service will be added to the consequences.

When the case is brought to trial, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant displayed symptoms of being under the influence. This could include things like needle marks, bloodshot eyes, or an altered gait. A lawyer can help defend you in court by looking at the situation and creating a defense. For example, maybe the gait was altered because the person recently had surgery. Or maybe the person had needle marks because they have a condition where they must give themselves daily shots as part of treatment. There can be many valid medical reasons as to why a person could appear under the influence. This is easy to prove through medical records and prescriptions.

Improper Passing of a School Bus

Imagine this scenario. You just dropped your kid off outside the school building and you are running late to your meeting. A school bus with flashing lights is on the opposite side of the road as you leave the school. You quickly pass it instead of waiting for the lights to go off. 

Unfortunately, you have just violated New Jersey Law 39:4-128.1. This law states that when approaching a school bus with flashing lights on a highway or road that is undivided, vehicles must stop no less than 25 feet from the school bus.

While a quick pass from the opposite side of the road may not seem like a big deal, this is considered a serious traffic violation in the state of New Jersey. Penalties include fines of at least $100, 15 days in jail or 15 days of community services. It also includes 5 MVC points, and 5 insurance points.

When working with a New Jersey attorney, the goal is to create a defense that leads to charges being dropped. If this is not possible, the next best strategy is to attempt to get charges downgraded to a “no-point” violation such as unsafe driving.


Speeding is a common charge. In fact, most people can say that they have been pulled over for speeding at least once in their life. The state of New Jersey has set consistent speed limits in different areas. This is so drivers know how they should be driving. One area where police are strict about speeding charges is in a school zone when students are present. In this area, the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. Penalties differ based on how much you were exceeding the speed limit. For example, exceeding the speed limit by 15-29 miles per hour leads to 4 license points. Exceeding by 35-39 miles per hour leads to a $260 fine and 5 license points. The state of New Jersey takes its school zone speed limits very seriously. This is in order to protect the safety of children.

New Jersey Attorney

When it comes to breaking the law on school grounds, often the penalties are harsher. The goal of the state of New Jersey is to keep kids as safe as possible when they are at school. Whether someone is under the influence of CDS on school property or speeding through the school zone, charges will be handled seriously. The best way to protect and defend yourself is to hire an experienced New Jersey attorney to be by your side.

Let’s connect!

Fill out the form on the right and get in touch with us.

Free Consultation

Free Consultation